At the bottom on the left is an alphabetical list of the pages in this web site, to help you navigate if you feel so inclined.
A guide to our family photo album covering 1994-2010, showing the principal themes, is here.
A year by year guide to our family time-line from 1994 through 2007 is here.
A photo journal beginning in 2008 is here.
The most recent pages of the album, copies of posts from my WordPress family blog, http://ianstock.wordpress.com/, are linked here:
Here's the 2008 annual update that we sent to friends and family for the holiday season at the end of the year:
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
One of the many reasons that we enjoy the Holiday Season so much, and of course the New Year rolling around, is that they give us a reason to share our news with family and friends all over. And sharing our news means first that we look back ourselves on the year, and put pen to paper, rhetorically speaking. This Holiday update then comes to rest as a page on the family web site, and bingo, we have a diary on the web!
2008 saw the big kids becoming more independent. Tom left for a three-week vacation before the New Year had even begun, and he has yet to return! He is in Paris, attending music school and looking after children part-time in “centres aerés,” or activity centers. The school started in the fall, and he is learning piano to complement his guitar. He played on the “Métro” and in bars before school started, and recorded his first song, just voice and guitar. He sent it to us, and Charlie says that it is his favorite song, and Alban played it on the boom box during our lovely Thanksgiving dinner at home. Tom was the only one of the children who did not celebrate with us, and then with his music he was home after all.
Alban moved down into our in-law cottage during the summer. Nick lived there first, and then Daphné, and now it’s Alban’s turn. He is pretty happy about it! He turned 19 in September, and is going through the process of figuring out what he wants to do with his life. The first half of 2008 rushed by working in the Safeway deli, which did not feel like a very promising career. And he and his girlfriend both found a job there, which did make things quite difficult when they broke up. So back to college in the fall, but not really feeling his direction yet. He’s signing up for advertising and business next semester: maybe that will work. Exploration is allowed, even encouraged.
(The photo on the left is Nick at home during the spring.)
Daphné moved out during the summer, up to San Francisco. She turned 21 in August, and so the timing seemed right. We agreed to continue covering her living costs while she continued her education, but on condition that she did not move in with a boyfriend. We happily moved her up to her flat shared with other students, and then discovered that the boyfriend of the moment lived right across the street. Hey, she followed the rule!
She’s waitressing at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Restaurant on Pier 39, which brings in pretty good tips, and is studying at San Francisco City College. The drinking age in California is 21, and Daphné’s French passport states that her date of birth is 3/8/1987, which is how August 3rd is written in France. In the US, the date written that way is March 8th. The drinking age in California is 21. Guess what date Daphné started being served in bars here!!
She’s enjoying life in the City so much that Nick is now talking about moving there. He spent the year in Santa Cruz, at home with us for a few months, and then sharing an apartment walking distance from downtown and the beach. He is learning more and more as a computer programmer, and prefers to do so on the job rather than in class. As his earning capacity is good, even without a degree, this is hard to argue with! It is also hard to argue with his indulging in his hobby of playing poker when he typically does not lose money. But, being parents, we do still manage to argue!
The growing independence of our “big kids” has visibly improved our collective relationships, especially with them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Marie-Hélène kept up her demanding schedule ensuring that, in addition to school and homework, Alex and Charlie continue with their soccer, music (violin and mandolin for Alex, and drums for Charles) and other activities, like karate during the fall. Ian made things easier for her by finally moving his work out of the house and into an office in Santa Cruz, in the aptly named NextSpace (www.nextspace.us). This collective work space was set up to encourage economic development in the town, and Ian shares it with start-ups and web designers, among others. Never a dull moment! (The photo above was taken of the parents during a visit to the Nasons.)
We missed our annual summer holiday in France and the UK, but installed hardwood floors in the living room and a new gas fireplace to compensate. The mantelpiece came from the LA company that made the mantels for the Titanic movie, and the fireplace works with a remote control, which everybody likes. Ian’s new toy is the last part of the living room’s improvements: a 52” Sony high definition LCD TV! Even Marie-Hélène likes the high definition imagery. Let’s hear it for toys!
(Marie-Hélène took this one of Charlie and Alex at Pelican Point on California's scenic coastal highway 1.)
Which brings us back to the Holidays. We went Christmas shopping at Macy’s at Union Square in San Francisco. Once they had finished their ice cream in the Ben & Jerry’s kiosk in the store, this errand bored Charlie and Alex. The trip had already meant that they were unable to play video games on one of the two days a week (the weekend) that they are authorized to do so. In no time, they had discovered the shiny metal ramps at hand height next to the moving banisters on the store’s escalators. Scrunched up pieces of paper were soon to be seen racing down these ramps, eagerly watched by two attentive spectators at the top of the escalator and the occasional worried shopper: “where did those come from?” Ian knew, but kept his peace and picked up the evidence. Our excursion was a success.
As we hope that your New Year will be.
Health and happiness to all!
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban